Is it the climate or the weather? Differential economic impacts of climatic factors in Ethiopia

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme


This paper assesses the distinct impacts of weather and climate change measures on agricultural revenue of farm households in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. This distinction is highlighted by observations in the temperature data, which show that the pattern of temperature for both short term and long values follows a bell-shaped distribution, with the striking feature that the extreme ends of the distribution have fatter tails for the long term values.

The analysis employs monthly rainfall and 14 temperature categories related to weather measures and four categories corresponding with the extreme ends of the long term temperature distribution. The analysis also distinguishes between summer and spring seasons and different crops in recognition of Ethiopia’s multi-cropping and multi-season agriculture.

The major findings show that temperature effects are distinctly non-linear but only when the weather measures are combined with the extreme ends of the distribution of the climate measures. In addition, rainfall generally has a less important role to play than temperature, contrary to expectations in rain-fed agriculture.

Mintewab Bezabih, Salvatore Di Falco and Alemu Mekonnen